The Air Force is considering a step it has long avoided to ease its deepening pilot shortage

The Air Force has long avoided considering putting enlisted airmen behind the controls of manned aircraft.

But the service is mired in a deepening pilot shortage and has pursued a bevy of policy changes to keep them in uniform and train more.

Now the force is launching a pilot-training program that includes enlisted airmen.

The Air Force is mired in a deepening pilot crisis, with a shortage of approximately 2,000 pilots from the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve at the end of fiscal year 2017 in September.

The Air Force has pursued a number of policies to correct that shortage, including quality-of-life improvements, opening positions for retired pilots, and drawing more active-duty pilots from the National Guard and Reserve. The force also has the option to recall retired pilots, but says it will not avail itself of it.

Now it appears the Air Force is considering a step it has long avoided: training enlisted airmen to be combat aviators.

A new six-month pilot-training program will consist of 15 officers and five enlisted airmen, Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy, chief of the Second Air Force, told his commanders in a November 30 email, seen by Air Force Times.

Currently, the only Air Force personnel...

30 Published By - Business Insider - 2017.12.07. 23:13
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